disaster recoveryWhen reports of natural disasters start appearing in the news, it brings business continuity to the forefront of business leaders’ minds, especially those who have yet to create business continuity plans for their organisations.

Also known as a disaster recovery plan, a business continuity plan is a must, particularly for small and medium businesses, which could literally go out of business if all of their mission-critical files got destroyed, deleted or stolen.

Creating a business continuity plan can take a lot of time, but it’s time well spent, considering the possible ramifications of not having one. When thinking about a business continuity plan, consider the old saying, “It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.” Women who carry small umbrellas in their purses are always glad they did when a sudden rain storm hits.

Right, getting caught in the rain without an umbrella is nothing like getting struck by disaster without a business continuity plan, but it’s the same principle. Preparing for the worst gives small-business owners peace of mind. They know that their companies’ essential data and applications are safe, secure and accessible should a disaster happen.

Natural disasters devastate, but so do things like viruses that steal or destroy files stored on company servers and computers. Employees who accidentally delete important files that they meant to save could cripple a business in a matter of minutes. A telephone pole crashing through the ceiling of a company’s office location could force everyone out of the office for weeks or even months while construction workers repair the damage.

Hewlett Packard shared the following tips for preparing a business continuity plan.

  • Document and backup key internal personnel
  • Identify employees who can telecommute
  • Document external contacts and critical equipment
  • Identify critical documents, contingency equipment options and secondary office locations
  • Make a list of who should do what and when
  • Communicate and test the plan
  • Review, revise and revise again

There’s another saying about procrastination that sums up why business leaders should stop putting off creating business continuity plans. The saying goes:  “Tomorrow never comes because by the time you get to tomorrow, it’s today, and yesterday was tomorrow.”

Because developing a sound business continuity plan can be difficult, small- and medium-business leaders are advised to seek the help of trained, experienced IT consultants. An experienced IT consultant can sit down with a business owner and help him create a solid business continuity plan that takes into account the needs of the company and staff.